What are ways of getting only the egg white from an egg? Can it be done after the yolk is broken?


11 Answers 11


The traditional method is as Rumtscho describes.

I got tired of this method for several reasons:

  1. Egg shells are dirty.
  2. Shells get in the egg (especially with home collected eggs which have MUCH thicker shells than store purchased eggs)
  3. Egg shells are sharp and it's hard to keep yolks whole.
  4. That method just takes too long if you need more than 2 eggs.

Now I just crack the egg into my hand (which has been thoroughly washed -- cleaner than an eggshell). I hold my fingers a little apart and let the white slip through, leaving the yolk in my hand.

Quick and simple.

Regardless of the method that you use you should use three bowls: one for the collected whites, one for the white you are working on, and one for the yolks.

Remember: only dump the current white into the collected whites after verifying that the yolk is whole. That way you don't spoil all your whites with one broken yolk.

  • yep - i used to use the shell-to-shell method, but now i do like my grandmother, and just use my hands. it works so much better.
    – franko
    May 26, 2011 at 15:33
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    Yes, I do this too. May 26, 2011 at 15:41
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    @msh210- It's faster, of course, if you can crack it with one hand. If you can't do that then crack the egg as you would normally but hold it vertically when you open the shell so the egg stays in half the shell. Then tip it into your hand. May 26, 2011 at 16:41
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    This is the method I've seen used by pastry cook, sous chef, and kitchen manager where I work. It's fast and effective, if slightly messier. You should have gloves or REALLY clean hands though.
    – BobMcGee
    Jun 1, 2011 at 17:40
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    @ThiagoChaves No. First, this is done with very clean hands. Secondly a tiny, tiny amount of oil doesn't matter: Serious Eats. Oil is a big deal, but I'm guessing that we all know how to clean our hands.
    – Jolenealaska
    Nov 6, 2014 at 23:42

It can't be done after the yolk is broken/pierced. But, of course, separating white from yolk requires that you break the egg shell to separate them.

  1. Break egg roughly in halves along its "equator".
  2. Hold both halves broken side up, like cups. One of them contains egg white and the yolk, and the other only egg white.
  3. Empty the egg whites from the half-shell without yolk into a receptacle (e.g. bowl)
  4. Slide the yolk from the other half-shell into the empty shell, taking with it as small an amount of egg white as possible. Pay attention to the yolk; you must not pierce it at the jagged shell edges.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there is no longer separable egg white remaining.

Generally, it is OK to have a tiny amount of whites with the yolks, so you don't have to separate perfectly.

It can happen that yolk gets pierced. If you need the egg whites (e.g. for meringue), don't use the ones into which yolk has bled, even if it is a tiny amount. Dump both yolk and contaminated whites into the yolk bowl (or trash).

If your yolk is pierced and you need the yolks (e.g. for hollandaise) and there is still lots of egg whites with the yolk, you have to continue separating. But if you suspect that you might need the whites pure, just put the contaminated whites from this egg in a separate receptacle (e.g. a teacup) and add them to something which uses whole eggs.

This YouTube video by updowngroupfood illustrates the method nicely, only they crack the egg into two different-sized "halves." For me, it works better when the halves are of equal size.

  • That's what I said ;) May 26, 2011 at 11:05
  • @ElendilTheTall When I started typing, you hadn't said it yet. I must have missed the "new answer posted". But yes, it is practically the same.
    – rumtscho
    May 26, 2011 at 11:10
  • I'll forgive you :) Yours is better laid out anyhoo. May 26, 2011 at 11:25
  • Thank you rumtscho for the detailed steps and the video.
    – codaddict
    May 26, 2011 at 12:50
  • I prefer to crack the egg into my hand with the fingers loosely open. The whites slide through, leaving a lovely golden orb in the palm of my hand.
    – Doug
    May 27, 2011 at 2:59

If by the egg being broken you mean the shell, then yes, of course! If you mean the yolk, it's very tricky. And if you mean after you've dumped the whole egg into a bowl, possibly, but you have to very careful not to break the yolk.

There are probably various ways of separating an egg, but I do it by carefully tapping it on the side of a bowl. Then, I break the egg in half while holding it vertically so that the yolk remains in one half of the shell, letting the white in the non-yolk half fall into the bowl. Then I gently tip the yolk into the empty half, while leaving the white behind (and letting any dribbly bits fall into the bowl as I transfer the yolk). Repeat until most of the white is in the bowl.

Remember, if you are separating the egg to get the yolks, a little bit of egg white is fine. If you are separating the egg to get whites, you can't get any yolk in there.

You can buy egg separators, which are like measuring spoons with a small hole in the bottom. You crack the egg into the spoon and the white runs out through the hole. But why shell out (no pun intended. Ok, maybe a little...) for that when you can do it in 5 seconds without it?

  • :) I actually only realised I'd said shell out afterwards :) May 26, 2011 at 16:48
  • Update to this answer: if you crack your egg carefully into a bowl, then take a small empty plastic water bottle, squeeze it a little, place it gently on the yolk and let the bottle relax, the negative pressure will suck the yolk into the bottle. You can then squeeze it out over another bowl. Works a treat. Dec 13, 2012 at 21:13
  • @Elendil- the bottle idea is really interesting but doesn't the suction rupture the yolk? Jan 16, 2013 at 16:35
  • Nope. The only thing you have to be careful of is releasing the pressure when the bottle is still vertical - once the yolk is past the neck, you just need to make sure you tilt the bottle horizontal. I've been using this method for months and haven't had a broken yolk yet. Jan 16, 2013 at 16:44
  • Cool. I'll have to try it out. Jan 16, 2013 at 19:09

All you need is a small empty plastic water bottle. Break an egg on a plate, then squeeze the bottle lightly and bring it to touch the egg yolk. Let go, and watch the yolk slide into the bottle! Check out a video of this method in action.


The simplest way would be to put a small hole in the narrow edge of the egg (using small narrow object like tine of fork) and tilt the egg slowly. The white will come out of the small hole and yolk will remain in the shell.

Once the yolk is broken, it starts mixing with the white, so its almost impossible to separate them.

  • My eggs are too fresh for this approach. The whites are thick enough that they will not flow through any hole smaller than a nickel. May 26, 2011 at 23:26
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    You need to punch 2 holes, small one at the bottom, bigger one at the top. It works just like the egg separator tools :)
    – Sufendy
    May 27, 2011 at 2:16
  • You'd need to wait a really long time for the white to dribble out through a single small hole. As in, the egg would be quite stinky before you succeeded. Plus there's the danger of poking a hole in the yolk when you pierce the shell. A small hole plus suction is a good way to empty out an eggshell after it has been dyed, but that's about it.
    – Marti
    Feb 22, 2013 at 0:42
  • This method sounds great, but does it actually work? Apr 18, 2013 at 22:55

The method rumtscho describes works well with practice. But if you're lazy like me, consider picking up an egg separator tool - it catches the yolk and lets the whites fall through.


Crack the egg into a saucer, put an egg cup over the yoke, tilt the saucer and the white falls off. Whaddya mean you don't have an egg cup, you have eggs!

  • This sounds like it'll tend to keep a decent amount of white with the yolk, unless the sizes match up really well.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 19, 2013 at 23:02
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    I think the idea is you let it flow out under the egg cup, using the cup to hold the egg back :-)
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 20, 2013 at 1:40

Place a slotted spoon over a cup or jar. Break the egg into the spoon and let the whites slip through the spoon's slots. The yolk will remain in the spoon.

  • This works, but I still prefer to do the same thing with my hand. Tupperware used to sell a funny little spoon like device just for this purpose...
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 19, 2013 at 20:28

I make egg white omelettes nearly every day. I have tried a number of ways to separate the eggs. Being sensitive to how easily the yolk can be pierced led me to this process. Here's the simplest way I've found yet:

  • Break eggs on a flat surface with only as much force as necessary to open the egg quickly.
  • Open into a wide mouth bowl.
  • Bring yolks up with your fingers.
  • Let the whites pull away from the yolks, adding intermittent pressure between the fingers if necessary.
  • This process allows you to identify if a yolk broke prematurely - you can then scoop it quickly and try to save as much of the white as you can.

A pair of suction-separators have recently hit the market that promise to make it easy to separate yolk from white.

The Pluck ($12.99):

enter image description here

And the Yolkr (£18.00):

enter image description here

Separating eggs will never be the same.


Crack open the egg and gently dump the entire egg into a bowl - you don't want the yolk to break . Make certain your hands are freshly washed, and then just scoop your fingers around each yolk, and lift out. Hopefully you don't have long, jagged fingernails that would pierce the yolk and contaminate the whites. I use this method when I have to separate 2 or more eggs.

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